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  • Writer's picture Irina


Updated: Jan 14, 2022


It’s been 4 months to the day I ran the marathon. Seems like yesterday. Feels like a million years ago.

Running wise, for a while now I feel I have been drifting in a void. If I had to paint the background it would be grey and blurry, if I had to choose a song it would be Radiohead or Marilyn Manson. It’s felt a bit lonely and like I didn’t have much to say about it. All sounds a bit negative huh? Well yes, it has been a bit flat, boring, frustrating, difficult with very few good running days scattered like gold dust giving me a glimpse of hope that not all is lost.

How, why or when I fell into this dark hole, I am not sure. Maybe it’s what happens after achieving a big milestone. Maybe it’s just part of the running journey. Maybe it’s because without a big goal ahead, running moved from the driver’s seat to the back seat. Maybe I’ve had enough of working with a coach and I need a break. Maybe it’s the weather, the rain, the cold, the mud, the short days. Maybe it’s all of the above or maybe it’s just my bloody hormones, who are by the way crashing all my endorphin parties.

I have carried on running, regardless. Every Tuesday, every Thursday and every Saturday, I get up, have my coffee, check the weather and off I go. Admittedly, I don’t have a big smile on my face. But I do it. For better or for worse. Till death do us part. That sort of thing. And most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I come back feeling better than when I left but still not like I used to. I lost the joy of running.

All the voices inside my head sounded angry. A lot of the anger was directed to my coach or rather the runs she gave me which were too hard, too difficult and I knew even before I went out that I would not manage to do what she asked. Among all the angry voices there was one that sang a different tune. Trust her, it said. It’s all part of a plan, it said. It will eventually get easier, it will make you stronger, faster, a better runner. Sure. But do I want all those things? Or do I want to run without any goal? To run for the sake of running and who cares if I improve or not? The angry voices got louder and louder to the point I couldn’t hear myself think.

In the meantime, my closest running companions have been an endless source of inspiration. Doug has just started running again after 7 months of recovery. His journey back is difficult, his joy is contagious. Liz has suffered injuries, but still ran 1,000 miles in 2021, still smiles on every run, still climbs the most scary hills. Zara has just completed the Dopey challenge consisting of 4 races in 4 days: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon. Yeah, I know. It is phenomenal! Antigoni, is in it for the long game, and is my pillar of running wisdom. Sara, has moved to Zurich and is exploring solo runs in completely uncharted territories. Brave!! Lucy has taken up running and is brilliant and is secretly enjoying it and Ian has signed up for his first marathon (and we’ll be there to cheer him on!). The Upper Beeding Runners, the most awesome fun and supportive run group on the planet have hit some amazing milestones and we’ve got the Brighton Half to look forward to next month !! Last but not least, my mum has rediscovered her joy for life in the most amazing and unexpected way, and well, if that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is.

So this is where I am. For exactly 4 months I feel I have been running towards a crossroads. Take the wrong turn and I could hit a dead end. Take another wrong turn and I could carry down a road to nowhere… I’ve now reached the crossroads. Time to stop and take a deep breath and at least be grateful that I haven’t stopped running.

Why? Why? Why? It’s not just an irrational fear of missing out. It’s not just fitness. It’s simply that deep down I LOVE IT! And I’ve come too far to stop. How I run going forward is still an open question. One thing is certain. I need to change my tune. Break the cycle of doom. Silence the angry voices. Find my joy, my purpose. Embrace each step I take as a step in the right direction even if it is a few seconds slower than I wanted.

“Run slower to run faster”

I read that somewhere the other day and it hit home.

I should know by now that progress in running and in life is always going to come with setbacks, slow or no progress at times, small breakthroughs, little moments of triumph that rock my cosmos. Then I will stumble again, fall, rise and so on and so forth. To expect anything different would be foolish and in the end, very boring.

Last night I did a treadmill run. I ran with headphones on. First time in over a year that I listened to music while running. I glanced at my reflection in the window and visualised the crossroads. It was time for a decision. Blame it on the cheesy songs I secretly love or the fact that I had a good session. Blame it on my reflection of 47 years from which I cannot hide… I turned up the volume and turned up the speed and ran tall and proud towards the crossroads of my mind, knowing with certainty that there was ever only one road to choose. The one ahead of me, with all its twists and turns. I want to run it.

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Yay you are back! Great post and a very natural and normal process to go through when you've achieved something so huge with a massive build up. I admire your ability to keep getting up and going out. It's beyond me. I know you will find the love again and does it matter if its in a different way or for different reasons? We certainly love watching you. See you in Brighton in Feb xx



We all have ups and downs, bumps in the road Irina - but not all of us are courageous enough to articulate them so openly and honestly as you have done here. Remember though, there's one great thing about crossroads; you have a choice of direction!! As always, you've made the right choice after careful consideration 😘



Ahh how I’ve missed your blogs Irina, and I miss you!! Solo running is hard sometimes, as you know, and you were in my thoughts when I ran the other day, remembering how we both hated running in winter and would ’push’ for a 5k 😂 Think back to those days, and where you are now! But you know this already. Also, the sun will soon be shining again for some spring/summer running, which is always sooooo much better 😊



You are a great inspiration…. I’ve seen, up close and personal, how difficult it has been for you to get up at daft o’clock and go on training runs in the wind and rain…. BUT, you have done it! Who knows where this running path will take you next, but I am sure that you will have fun along the way!



The joy of reading your comments and feeling connected is second to none! Thank you ❣️ PS I didn’t sing out loud (I think), but did little dance moves with my arms! 🕺🏽

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